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Computer glitches slow local results

November 7, 2012
By MARK LAW - Staff writer ( , The Herald-Star

STEUBENVILLE - The Jefferson County Board of Elections ran into some computer problems Tuesday that delayed the results of the general election.

Board of elections member Frank Bruzzese said the problem was recognized early in the tabulation process. He said the absentee or early voting ballots were uploaded to the computer system. The results from the machines at the 82 polling places then were uploaded, but the two totals couldn't be combined in the computer system, he said.

The board of elections had to post two separate totals, one from the absentee or early voting and the other from the machines. The board of elections combined the two totals into a final unofficial count.

Bruzzese emphasized the results are accurate.

"It was a smooth orderly Election Day," he said. "It just took longer than it should have" to get the final results, Bruzzese said.

Board of elections officials were predicting the final results wouldn't have been tabulated until around 2 a.m. The board would have had the results about 90 minutes earlier if it wasn't for the computer tabulation problem.

Bruzzese said the board of elections didn't spend too much time in trying to determine the cause of the problem and instead focused on getting the results out.

"We'll determine what the cause was and report it," he said. "Our goal was accuracy."

Bruzzese said the board of elections was in contact with the Ohio Secretary of State's office throughout the evening. He said the secretary of state's office agreed with the county board of elections to post both the absentee or early votes and the machine votes and manually total the two.

Richard Desman, Jefferson County Board of Elections chairman, said the board never encountered such a problem before.

"It took us totally by surprise," he said.

There was a 66 percent voter turnout in Jefferson County, with 32,870 voters casting ballots out of the 49,729 registered voters.

"It was a great voter turnout. All the polling place I visited were steady and busy, with no long lines," Bruzzese said.

There were 973 provisional ballots cast on Tuesday. The board of elections must wait 10 days before beginning the certification process. The board of elections will meet and determine if any of the provisional ballots shouldn't be counted.

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